8 Oct 2012

Growers relieved at Solid Energy agribusiness sale plan

9:54 am on 8 October 2012

Farmers growing oilseed rape for Solid Energy's biodiesel subsidiary are relieved that it has a buyer lined up for its agribusiness operation.

The state owned enterprise, which announced in August it was getting out of the biofuel business because it wasn't economic, is negotiating with a South Island consortium for the part of the operation that buys and processes oilseed rape as edible oil and meal for stock feed.

The consortium is led by Timaru-based Southern Packers, which packs and exports onions and potatoes and includes the Midland seed company.

Jeremy Talbot, chair of the committee that represents the 30 or so mostly South island farmers supplying the oil seed, says they've given the bid their conditional support.

He says crop prices for next year need to be discussed and there are "housekeeping matters" to deal with in changing over contracts.

Solid Energy says if the sale negotiations are successful, it expects the consortium to take over the agribusiness venture in November.

It is also considering bids for Biodiesel New Zealand's fuel division, which manufactures and markets biofuel.